Make the Road New York's Department of Legal & Survival Services employs 15 attorneys and 22 advocates/paralegals who specialize in labor and employment, housing, public benefits, disability benefits, healthcare and health insurance access, immigration, public education, and civil rights issues.
In addition to providing a comprehensive range of high-quality legal services, we work to change the systems that perpetuate and exacerbate poverty by:
- Monitoring local, state, and federal government agencies and law enforcement authorities that serve our communities.
- Reforming legislation and advocating at all levels of government on education, LGBT rights, police abuse, immigration, and other key areas.
- Partnering with other stakeholders, including community groups, elected officials, labor unions, religious organizations, and the private bar.
Addressing Income Crises
Our dynamic legal team helps low-income New Yorkers to access over $30 million annually in unlawfully withheld wages and benefits. We help clients apply for, maintain, and correct problems with disability, public assistance, and other benefits, providing representation at Fair Hearings and other administrative venues. Our practice also entails litigating all stages of employment and labor matters in federal and state court and before agencies including the National Labor Relations Board and the NY State Division of Human Rights.
Fighting Off Hunger & Homelessness
We provide legal services to prevent the uprooting of communities, especially in neighborhoods where gentrification incentivizes landlords to "clear out" low-income tenants. Our housing attorneys and advocates work to halt impending unlawful evictions, protect tenants' rights to rent stabilized housing, and obtain necessary repairs. Families in crisis can also get help obtaining emergency food stamps and public benefits, and can access our on-site food pantry, community garden, and nightly community meals, which provide more than 300 families each month with assistance in meeting nutritional needs.
Protecting Lives & Health
Our healthcare advocates represent hundreds of individuals and family healthcare cases each month to ensure access to care at public hospitals, to fight unlawful refusals by insurers to cover treatment, and to negotiate the elimination or reduction of debilitating hospital bills that can exacerbating poverty. Our full range of representation includes filing grievances with managed care companies, representing Medicaid recipients in Fair Hearings, and bringing civil rights suits to enforce rights to translation services in hospitals and pharmacies. Our healthcare advocates also work closely with our housing attorneys and organizers to target asthma triggers and lead poisoning in the home.
Keeping Immigrant Families Together
We provide a full range of immigration services aimed at protecting individuals from deportation, keeping families together, and increasing civic and economic opportunities for low-income immigrants. Our attorneys represent immigrants in removal proceedings, assist with applications and petitions to obtain permanent resident status, help thousands of young people obtain deferred action status, and prepare citizenship applications for those eligible. Our immigration attorneys are deeply involved in community efforts to win equal rights for immigrants and reverse the devestating effects of harsh federal immigration enforcement.
MRNY is a member organization of Leap, a coalition of civil legal services providers meeting the needs of low-income New York City residents.
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